James Madison University

Future Master of Science in Athletic Training Program

To become an Athletic Trainer, students must graduate from an accredited professional athletic training program and pass the national Board of Certification (BOC) exam.  Currently, accredited professional programs are delivered at both the bachelor’s and master’s level that prepare students to sit for their BOC exam.  On May 20, 2015, the Athletic Training Strategic Alliance (four leading organizations in the profession) announced their decision to require the professional degree in athletic training be obtained at the master's degree level.   After the implementation deadline, bachelor’s level professional education programs will no longer lead to eligibility to sit for the BOC exam.  This decision was made with the best interests of the profession in mind to ensure a vital place for Athletic Trainers (ATs) in the evolving health care arena.

What will JMU's Professional Master's Degree Program Look Like?


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  • What admission criteria would the Master of Science in Athletic Training program require?

    Following are the proposed admission criteria. These criteria may change prior to the 2019-2020 academic year. Students considering application to the JMU MSAT should focus on earning a bachelor's degree in their desired major, maintaining a strong GPA, taking the proposed prerequisite courses, and applying during their senior year.

  • Proposed Admission Criteria

    For admission consideration to the Master of Science in Athletic Training program, candidates must successfully complete the requirements of The James Madison University Graduate School and of the AT program. These include:

    • A bachelor or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university
    • Overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher is preferred, minimum 2.7 required
    • Quantitative Graduate Record Examination score of 144 or higher preferred
    • Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended
    • Documentation of 50 or more observation hours under the supervision of a certified/licensed athletic trainer
    • All non-native English speakers are required to submit official results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 570 (paper-based) or 88 (internet-based). 

    Complete Graduate School requirements are found online. (JMU Graduate Admissions)

  • Prerequisites

    These program prerequisites must be completed prior to beginning the AT curriculum in May, but are not required prior to applying for admission to the program. Applications for admission will be due during the 2019-2020 academic year.  There are two separate applications for the admission process: one to the JMU graduate school and one to the AT program through ATCAS.

    Candidates must complete both applications to be considered. All prerequisite course work must have been completed within the past seven years to assure some degree of current information in these fields. Applicants working in a related field that have maintained current knowledge, should apply and provide explanation of how they have maintained a degree of current information in these fields. The admissions committee will decide accepting the explanation as sufficient to meet the prerequisites.

    Candidates must successfully complete the following prerequisite course work with a grade of “C”, 2.0/4.0 level or better:

    • 3 credits in General Psychology
    • 3 credits in Nutrition
    • 3 credits in Statistics or Research Methods
    • 8 credits in Human or Mammalian Anatomy & Physiology
    • 3 credits in Human Biomechanics or Physics
    • 3 credits in General or Inorganic Chemistry
    • 4 credits in Exercise Physiology
    • 3 credits Medical Terminology

    Candidates may meet the anatomy and physiology prerequisites by taking a semester course in each topic or by taking the entire sequence of combined anatomy and physiology courses at a single college. The combined courses must cover all of the body systems and regions and must include a laboratory component in anatomy.

  • Transfer Credit

    Candidates whose prior education is through international schools should consult the "International Student Applications" section of the Graduate Catalog for additional features of the application process. No transfer credits are allowed for the Master of Science in Athletic Training degree program. Despite athletic training programs having accreditation standards to oversee program delivery and curriculum content, institutional autonomy is encouraged. Transfer credits are not allowed since each program designs their curriculum differently. Secondly, the standard of assessment is individual to the program. Therefore, in order to maintain the integrity of the degree JMU is providing all courses must be taken at JMU.

  • Application Requirements to Degree Program

    Completed AT Admission Application – This application contains the following sections:

    • Official and final transcripts
    • Official Graduate Record Exam Scores
    • Resume and personal statements
    • Three letters of recommendation from professional references. (At least one recommendation must be from a certified/licensed athletic trainer with whom the student was supervised by during their observation hours.)
    • Writing sample
    • JMU technical standards verification
    • Description of leadership and professional activities
    • Health requirements verification
      • Proof of immunizations
      • Tuberculosis test/screen completion
      • Physical examination completion
    • Liability/malpractice insurance information
    • Proof of First Aid Training
    • Proof of current Emergency Cardiac Care (American Red Cross CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer or equivalent, e.g. American Heart Associations' Basic Life support for Healthcare Professionals, the Emergency Care and Safety Institute (ECSI))
    • Acknowledge review and understanding of AT Program handbook
    • Acknowledgement statements regarding program expectations
  • Proposed Curriculum

    The proposed M.S. in Athletic Training is a two year, six semester, non-thesis curriculum delivered in a cohort model of full-time students. 

    Sample Plan of Study for Full-Time Students

    Year One    
    Summer I: Fall I: Spring I:
    ATEP 511 Foundations of Athletic Training (3)

    ATEP 512 Emergency Management of Injuries & Illnesses (4)

    ATEP 513 Clinical Gross Anatomy (4)

    Total = 11

    Clinical Rotation Preseason Only
    ATEP 524 General Medicine in Athletic Training I (3)

    ATEP 525 Orthopedic Evaluation I (4)

    ATEP 526 Therapeutic Interventions I (4)

    ATEP 521 Clinical Education I: Psychosocial Concepts and Cultural Competence (3)      

    Total = 14

    Clinical Hours – 6 days/week; 20 hr/week + general medicine rotations
    ATEP 534 General Medicine in Athletic Training II (3)

    ATEP 537 Evidenced Based Practice in Athletic Training (3)

    ATEP 535 Orthopedic Evaluation II (4)

    ATEP 536 Therapeutic Interventions II (4)

    ATEP 532 Clinical Education II: Nutrition & Exercise (3)    

    Total=17

    Clinical Hours – 6 days/week; 20 hr/week + general medicine rotations
      Year Two:    
    Summer II: Fall II: Spring II:
    ATEP 645 Advanced Orthopedic Assessment (3)

    ATEP 646 Therapeutic Intervention III (3 credits)  

    Total = 6
    Clinical Rotation Preseason Only
    ATEP 657 Applications in Evidence Based Practice (3)

    ATEP 653 Clinical Education III: Professional Development (10-11)

    Total = 13-14

    Clinical Hours – 6 days/week; 40+ hours + general medicine rotations
    ATEP 660 Administration in Athletic Training (3)

    ATEP 664 Clinical Education IV: Transition to Practice (8)  

    Total = 11
    Clinical Hours – 6 days/week; 30 hr/week + general medicine rotations
        Total Program Hours  = 72-73 hours

Commonly Asked Questions


  • How long do programs have to make this change if they offer a bachelor's program?

    Baccalaureate programs may not admit, enroll, or matriculate students into the athletic training program after the start of the fall term 2022.

  • How will James Madison University comply with the necessary degree change?

    As the longest accredited athletic training program in the Commonwealth of Virginia, James Madison University is preparing to meet the required change in degree level.  Our program supports the change in degree and is committed to elevating the degree level and continuing to produce outstanding athletic training health care professionals.  We have proposed a professional program that will result in a Master of Science in Athletic Training degree.

  • How will the proposed Master of Science in Athletic Training degree differ from the previous Bachelor of Science Athletic Training degree at JMU?

    The JMU Athletic Training Faculty worked through a full academic year analyzing previous assessment data, performing a SWOT analysis, and gathering information from stakeholders to the program (current students, alumni, preceptors, employers, etc.).  This information was used to develop curriculum designed to produce a strong athletic training healthcare professional with the intent to exceed accreditation standards established by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. Master of Science students will complete a 2 year, 6 semester curriculum rather than the previous 2 year, 4 semester curriculum.  The proposed curriculum adds four new courses (Clinical Gross Anatomy, Evidence Based Practice, Applications of Evidence Based Practice, and Advanced Orthopedic Assessment) and two immersive clinical experiences during the last two semesters of the program. The additional courses and immersive clinical experiences will offer more advanced coursework and additional opportunities for students to practice their skills and prepare for their comprehensive roles as future athletic trainers.

  • When will the Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training degree close?

    According to our proposed plan, the last admission cycle to the professional phase of the Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training degree program will occur in spring 2019. Students who have completed all required AT courses and general education courses by the end of the 2019 first summer session are eligible to submit their admission application in April 2019. Admission decisions will be made in July 2019 once the first summer session is complete. This final cohort of students seeking the BSAT degree will graduate in May 2022.

  • When will the Master of Science in Athletic Training degree begin?

    The proposed start date of the graduate program is May 2020. Applications for the first cohort will be due during the 2019-2020 academic year.  The exact due date is yet to be determined.

  • Can a student complete BOTH the Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Athletic Training degrees at JMU?

    No.  The purpose of both degrees is to prepare students to sit for the national Board of Certification exam.  Completing both degrees would be completing two programs designed to produce the same outcome of preparing students to enter the athletic training profession.

  • How do I decide if I want to pursue a Bachelor of Science or Master of Science in Athletic Training if I can choose from either program?

    Ultimately, the athletic training faculty at JMU believe this is a personal decision students must make for themselves. Both degrees will prepare students to sit for their national Board of Certification exam. Because the profession will eventually prepare all ATs at the master's level, students pursuing a BSAT should consider that they will likely need to pursue a master's degree following completion of the BSAT to remain competitive in the job market. The student may choose a post-professional athletic training masters or a master’s degree in related fields (e.g. nutrition, administration, exercise science) to complement their BSAT degree. By having a master's degree, these students should remain competitive for future employment with those who chose to get their MSAT.

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